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Published: Saturday, 8/13/2005

Area's factory activity points to slowdown

Factory activity in northwest Ohio last month was the weakest it has been this year, and it fell below the reading of a similar national index for the first time since December.

Northwest Ohio's manufacturing index, released yesterday, was at 50.7 percent in July, still in a growth mode but down from 57.3 the month before, according to the index compiled by Toledo's Regional Growth Partnership. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The previous weakest reading was 50.2 in December. Nationally, the index was 56.6 in July, up from 53.3 the month before.

It appears manufacturing locally was affected by normal summer shutdowns of automotive plants, said Eileen Granata, the growth partnership's senior vice president of strategic resources.

A year ago, the reading was 52.7.

Production and new orders were both down in July, which helps indicate the slowed growth is related to the auto industry, she said. Local production last month was at 48.4 and new orders were at 49.4, while employment was at 52.

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